Linda Barnard

Linda Barnard

Award-winning film and travel writer
Travel Media Association of Canada, Society of American Travel Writers, Toronto Film Critics Association
My company is Spellbound: captivating writing


Wake up happy: hang out among the treetops in P.E.I.

Sheila Arsenault’s dream of offering an escape, wellness and ‘an authentic experience’ comes true in the woods outside Charlottetown. Remember your favourite duvet fort when you were a kid? Nestle it in a futuristic, framed geodesic dome set high in a forest to get a TreePod, the latest in woodsy-chic stays.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Phoenix hotel encourages you to ‘Find Yourself’ as city reinvents itself

As Phoenix continues to reinvent itself, hip stay Found: Re emerges as the new ‘it’ spot, steeped in art and industrial-modern design.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

How to spend two days in Abu Dhabi

There were nervous grins in the back seat of the powerful land cruiser when guide Faizal Mohamed posed the question, expertly nudging our vehicle to the crest of a dune in the Al Khatim Desert. A brief pause and we were skidding down the steep slope, shrieking with laughter. The 4x4 roller coaster ride was part of a desert safari about a 45-minute drive and a world away from ultra-modern downtown Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Groninger Museum, Groningen

While other art museums may go for grandeur, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands plays on joy. It’s impossible not to grin at the first sight of this brilliantly colourful, post-modernist gem. All angles, patterns, and colours, it seems to tumble along its small island home in a canal in Groningen, the largest city in the country’s north and about two hours by train from Amsterdam. Link to Story

Prince Edward County lures with chic stays, shops and homemade treats

PICTON, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY—The pink neon Peace Love Wine sign is always on at the June Motel, where Wine O’Clock is more a state of mind than a time of day. “Wine O’Clock is all the time for us,” says Sarah Sklash, a former government business analyst who left Toronto to become a “motelier” in Prince Edward County with longtime bestie and business partner, April Brown.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Florida fishing trip lets guests catch their dinner

An expedition from Hawks Cay Resort involves using your sea legs to reel in your catch, cooking it under a chef’s guidance and savouring it by the water. Along with four other enthusiastic —but hardly expert — female anglers, I also gained a jolt of self-confidence on the roiling Atlantic Ocean, woozily standing my ground on the pitching deck of the 15-metre fishing charter Tailwalker.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

P.E.I. honours Stompin’ Tom Connors with cultural centre

The newly opened Stompin’ Tom Centre smells of fresh lumber. It makes a visitor think of the sheets of plywood native son Stompin’ Tom Connors’s boots pounded onstage with such legendary beat-keeping ferocity, it gave him his name. The late singer-songwriter behind Canadian anthems “The Hockey Song” and “Sudbury Saturday Night” may have left the Prince Edward Island hamlet of Skinners Pond as a youngster to hitchhike and hop trains across the country, but he said this spot was always his home.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Explore Arizona's agritainment scene, starting with goat yoga

MESA, ARIZONA—Child’s pose in yoga class is a lot more fun with a kid on your back. Kid as in baby goat, that is. Four-hoof massages were on the house at Arizona Goat Yoga, held in a large paddock at Welcome Home Ranch near the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Chandigarh: the city beautiful

It’s the last thing we expected to find in often-chaotic India: a planned city of green spaces and 1950s-futuristic concrete buildings designed by legendary Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. Commissioned by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to be a showplace capital in northern India following the 1947 partition, Chandigarh is suddenly a hot destination for architects and urban designers.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

A prison café is the highlight of modern-day Cartagena

There’s more than bread and water on this prison menu. At Cafe Interno, staffed by some of the 140 inmates in the San Diego women’s penitentiary next door, grilled catch of the day with “farm vegetables” grown in the jail’s garden are served with a side of social justice. The sign on the wall outside reads “second chances” in Spanish, with an arrow pointing to an open cell door.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Film geeks will adore Morocco

The North African country that serves as a stand in for the Middle East and central Asia in movies and in shows such as Homeland and Game of Thrones, is drawing tourists to its cinematic locales. OUARZAZATE, MOROCCO-Like the handful of other homes within the mud-walled village of Ait Benhaddou, Mohamed Kachir’s living room has two things: a vertical loom for weaving the colourful Berber carpets famous throughout Morocco and a portrait of Russell Crowe.
Award winner: Link to Story

Jon Hamm on his role in summer blockbuster Baby Driver

"I’m taking my sweater off guys, calm down,” Jon Hamm deadpans, pulling off the grey topper to amused hoots from a table of journalists. In a deluxe hotel, not far from the Hollywood sign, Hamm seems in a good mood as he sits down to talk about Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, the fast-moving cars-and-guns action thriller with a killer soundtrack that’s destined to be one of the defining movies of the summer when it releases tomorrow.
The National Abu Dhabi/ Link to Story


Linda Barnard

A freelance writer covering film and travel, I have more than three decades of experience in deadline-driven digital and print journalism. I'm the former movie writer and a staff film critic at the Toronto Star and a National Newspaper Awards winner (Arts & Entertainment) and winner Best International Travel Story, SATW Canadian Chapter. I have extensive experience as a restaurant critic and food, wine and cocktail writer.
I write for The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, Canadian Traveller Magazine, Fodor's, Movie Entertainment Magazine, Montecristo Magazine, The National Abu Dhabi and others.
My creative clients include Telefilm Canada and Star Metro Media.
I write eloquent speeches, craft well-written targeted content and can provide media training.